Agriculture
Agriculture

AgricultureDiscussants at the third edition of the Ghana Economic Forum JEF) 2014 have called for a development strategy with agriculture as the focal point to quickly address the widening balance of trade deficit.

Agriculture, the discussants’ agree, is the long-term solution to the country’s economic challenges which have seen a sharp decline in the value of the Ghana cedi against the major trading currency – the US dollar.

“There is a consensus that there no vision for this country at all. Going forward, we need a clear-cut vision. Secondly, agriculture is the way to go. The only hindering factor is the poor institutions in land management,” the moderator of the session ‘Finding a Better Development Strategy’, Kwame Adanu, an economist with GIMPA said.

A panellist, Mr. Michael Cobblah, the Country Representative of EDC said: ‘There is no goal. If we set a clear agenda and identify areas where we have advantage, with good leadership this country will go forward.

“We need a national vision that would be used to drive a national plan. We must identify clear areas where we think we have a competitive advantage. Agriculture, tourism and education are areas I think we have a competitive advantage.

“We then can look at the development agenda, such that we would be able to finance whatever we come up with.”

Challenges with the acquisition of land, has been cited as one of the major challenges bedevilling agriculture investment.

Mr. Cobblah believes that governmental intervention is needed to address this.

“The way we can get around the land issues is for the government to take ownership of those lands, give the owners equity so they know they have a stake in whatever we need to do. We shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel. We can learn from Israel,” he said.

Dr. Kofi Amoah, Chief Executive Officer of Progeny Ventures advocated for a development plan based on the three pillars of agriculture, manufacturing and finance.

Access to finance, storage and market for produce are the other major challenges facing agriculture in the country.

“Financing agriculture must be a deliberate policy of government to get banks to dedicate a portion of their funds to agriculture but with guarantees,” Mr. Frank Adu, Managing Director of Cal Bank said.

In 2012, the agricultural sector contributed 28.6 per cent of total GDP. Industry and Services, contributed 23.3 and 46.3 per cent respectively in the 3rd quarter of 2013 to overall GDP.

Source B&FT

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